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That sounds like the description of a broadband amplifier. It likely has "F" type (cable-coax) connectors and a power cord.
Commonly used to increase the signal level of TV cable to compensate for inserting a signal splitter, or in some cases to increase the signal level from an antenna, typically outdoor TV or FM radio antenna, so it is connected between the signal source (antenna, or cable) and receiver with antenna as input and receiver connected to the output of this little box. The gain (amplification) it provides is 12 dB, so the output is more than 3 times the input.
Check for open or shorted Veractor diodes and steering diodes there may be no direct interaction as you say but if a diode is open or shorted the RF circuits might still be selected for the higher bands and the lower output power on your vhf/uhf is an indication of this. If you do not have a service manual you can get one hear, you will likely kneed one http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/127575994-vertex-yaesu-ft-857-ft-857d-2005-service-repair Good Luck Best regarsds Falco
I think the whip antenna is for mobile,I suggest to get an aerial antenna even an omni type and of course the impedance is 50 ohms and try this antenna a cushcruft the model s ringo ranger 2, it is tunable antenna,I already test it from 2001 up to present,its working fine...
It is not typical but neither is there a problem with the radio.
Transmit Power output is loosely dependent on the:
1. Frequency or channel you are transmitting. Normally, Marine Band VHF are calibrated for max (25 in your radio) at Ch16 or 156.800Mhz;
2. If the SWR of the antenna is not a flat 1.0, power tends to go down;
3. After some time, the TX side of the radio needs to be re-calibrated;
4. Power Supply - some radios will push max output only when powered with 13.8 and tends to go down when used with 12 volts.
Hope this be of some help/idea. Post back should you need additional information.
Good luck and kind regards.